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Blue Ridge Leader News – Sunday, March 4, 2012

March 4, 2012 by filed under Loudoun County, News, Tim Jon with BRLN No Comments

One Degree of Separation

I’m pretty sure that you don’t personally know the latest missing teen making the news in Loudoun County, but you just might know someone who does; 16-year-old Mauricio Escobar left his Ashburn home on Dodge Terrace on the 23rd of last month- on his own accord. The Sheriff’s Office has reason to believe he’s with friends; let’s hope so.

They list his vital statistics as a heavy-set Hispanic boy of 5′ 8” with a diamond stud in each ear.

The Authorities really have little else to go on, except that this is a locality in which people who know something pertinent to these cases generally come forward with information- and that’s the reason for this quick announcement; if we each do what we can to bring Mauricio home, it can only help the cause.

Right?

So- that person whom you know who knows something about this case can contact Investigating Officer Cumberledge of the Sheriff’s Office at: 703-777-0475.

Michael Quin- Hero

Lots of folks in the Western Loudoun Community know the family of the local Marine Officer killed in the recent helicopter crash in Arizona; we heard that many flags in the Purcellville area would fly at half-staff until the burial services are completed for 28-year-old Captain Michael Quin. The 2002 Loudoun Valley High School Graduate lost his life during a final training mission- in preparation for what would have been a mission to Afghanistan.

This young hero had joined the Marine Corp after graduating from the US Naval Academy in 2006.

Michael Quin’s parents- Brad and Betsy- live in the Locust Grove development in the southern section of Purcellville; the family’s already getting lots of support from their community, but keeping the memory of their son alive will take everyone’s effort.

Beyond his immediate survivors, Officer Quin was also engaged to be married; a lifetime of service, contribution and leadership lay before him, until that helicopter crash at the Yuma Training Range Complex.

The loss of Michael Quin comes far too soon after the death of another young Purcellville serviceman- Army Specialist Stephen Lee Mace- who lost his life just over two years ago, while fighting members of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Condolences to the family and friends of each of these fine, young men.

They set quite an example.

…And in Contrast…

Another 28-year-old from Loudoun County- this time from Lovettsville- looks at 12 years behind bars for far less heroic actions than the aforementioned; Samuel Thomas Eaton received his punishment for last year’s botched robbery attempt in Sterling. One of the residents at the Kennedy Road home fired upon Eaton and his accomplices- killing Anthony Miles and wounding Anthony Walker.

The latter survived- and comes in for sentencing in May.

The three men- armed with a pellet gun and a couple of knives- were reportedly attempting to make off with the contents of a safe on the ground floor- when their would-be victim gained access to a firearm and turned the tables on the perpetrators.

Evidently, the trio’s plans omitted the loaded handgun within that safe.

One paid with his life, Samuel Eaton received 12 years, and Anthony Miles can anticipate similar treatment for the activities of that evening.

It’s About Time

You may- or may not- describe the punishment as far less harsh in the latest verdict in one of the recent school tardiness cases. Maureen Blake of Purcellville heard the total in fines for the three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor would come to $3,000; the court fees equal that amount- all coming for a dozen or so instances of three of her children showing up late at Lincoln Elementary during this School Year.

Ouch.

Blake ran into a similar situation a couple of years back- with lesser consequences- about half as much in fines.

Another set of Loudoun County parents- Mark and Amy Denicore- face their own kids’ tardiness trial- which starts in a little over a month.

Their charges- stemming from about 30 instances of their three children being late for school- carry a maximum penalty of $1,500.

It’s been said that life can be a learning experience.

Or not.

It Didn’t Happen

And, thankfully, we’ll never know what may have occurred in one of our local schools, if not for the brave actions of a young student- and intervention by authorities. Leesburg Police responded to word from a concerned parent at J Lupton Simpson Middle School this past week- after their child had spoken about a potential threatening situation from a disturbed pupil at the facility; authorities stepped in- with the result being that the student in question received psychiatric attention.
Police and School Administrators can’t stop the rumor mills from grinding, so I’m sure the internet traffic’s been buzzing over the incident- especially against the backdrop of the recent, deadly school shooting in the Midwest.

It seems- in this latest local case- that a kid did the right thing, the parents reacted accordingly, and authorities worked with the school- and the troubled student- to keep things safe.

And, let’s ALL keep them that way.

No Pun Intended
This next story is similar to a car accident- in that it’s horrible to witness, but, at the same time, you can’t turn away; the Sheriff’s Office announced the recent arrest of a 50-year-old man for obscene sexual display- at the Sterling Library, of all places. They took Camillo Deangelis into custody on the 22nd of last month- on complaints of viewing pornography on his personal computer at the facility- and simulating masturbation.

I should have placed quotation marks around the last two words- I’m not sure how you ‘simulate’ such an act- either you do, or you don’t- but the suspect evidently exposed himself during the incident- and he was still displaying lewd images on his computer screen when responding Deputies arrived on the scene.

Deangelis faces a Class 1 Misdemeanor for his actions.

“Fun is fun- ’til overdone.”

Method in the Madness
And, resisting the temptation to use vivid- and livid- images in the transition into this next scenario, we turn to the latest situation with the County Budget. We heard that the Loudoun Supervisors seriously consider a tax rate of some six cents less than the Administrator’s recommendation of $1.27.

Now, such a reduction would cut about $200 off the average homeowner’s property tax bill- but we can’t help but wonder how much we’d pay- in other forms- in the long run.

Since the public schools take about two-third’s of our local tax dollars, I’m sure those in the educational community are keeping their smelling salts handy on this one.

The School Board’s approved request exceeded last year’s by about 10%, and it doesn’t look like it has much of a chance with the new, all-Republican County Board.

But- the Supervisors’ starting point of $1.21 is just that- a starting point- a baseline figure from which they can replace items in order of priority- and leave out those things deemed unnecessary.

I’m willing to listen.

$200 would buy me quite a few pork shoulders for my barbecue grill.

But only if the rest of the County can afford them- if you know what I mean.

The work sessions were set to continue on Monday.

That was Francis- and That was Frank

I can still remember the occasion: of seeing the late Frank Raflo at his happiest. The former County Board Chairman, Leesburg Mayor, newspaper man and radio host was just beaming that day when the love of his life- his wife Francis- won the Judy Patterson Award for Tourism; this was back about 10 years ago- at the annual awards event for the Loudoun Convention and Visitors Association- the LCVA for short.

Yep- you couldn’t have tied him down, he was so proud.

I’m glad I’ve got those memories: Francis Raflo passed away a few days prior to this writing- at the age of 89; she was preceded by her husband’s death about three years back.

And, I don’t think either of them would mind- or disagree with the statement- that she was as easy to like as Frank was volatile, unpredictable and irascible.

There was a time- quite a long stretch, actually- when the Raflo’s Clothing Shop in Downtown Leesburg was a landmark- a place where ‘everyone shopped.’

Now, dwindling numbers of residents can still remember the former- familiar- apparel store.

Francis and Frank had been married in 1947- and were able to enjoy the balance of their lives in that sort of ‘Golden Age’ in Leesburg and Loudoun County- before the growth from Dulles Airport came and changed everything.

It was a time when George Marshall still lived at Dodona Manor- and Arthur Godfrey would ‘buzz’ the town on his flight home from New York to Beacon Hill.

The Raflo’s were a big part of what made Loudoun County a unique, special place- and now, they’re gone.

I’m very grateful to have met Frank and Francis- and others- who opened the doors of history, culture and context for me in this locality.

I will always miss them.

Have a Safe Time

And, one bit of advice I always remembered is that- in case of a house fire- you’ve got something like three minutes in which to make a safe exit- before conditions become insupportable to life; that’s why, I always try to remind people to replace the batteries in their home smoke detectors whenever they change their clocks. Daylight Saving starts on Sunday, the 11th; remember the old, “Spring forward, Fall back,” phrase to set timepieces ahead.

We lose an hour that day- but you can take steps to save your family from tragedy.

Change those batteries- it takes about a minute- for a lot of reassurance.

Tim Jon for the Blue Ridge Leader

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